Liberty University Clarifies 'Partnership' With Benny Hinn Amid Evangelist's Promotion of Bible Institute

Jerry Falwell-Founded School Issues Strong Statement Regarding Legal Use of Its Certificate Program

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By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
April 5, 2014|5:07 pm

CP: Dr. Ronald Godwin, identified by Liberty University as its senior vice president for academic affairs/provost, says Mr. Reber's Institute program, though a "separate entity," is "recognized and endorsed by Liberty University."

Corry: Again, Dr. Godwin was mistaken. The Institute of Biblical Studies is not separate but LHBI is separately operated by Mr. Reber. Both programs are Liberty University programs. Those who successfully complete the program are eligible for college credit on the same basis as other certificate program graduates. LHBI graduates must still meet the criteria for admission to any program to which they seek admission and completion of IBS or LBHI is not, in and of itself, a guarantee of admission or of academic credit. Our public statement issued yesterday only referenced LHBI. Liberty officials were able to review the 2009 and 2011 contracts and the Hinn video today and, for the first time, realized that IBS courses were being sold on the video, not LHBI courses.

CP: Is it a fact that Liberty University recognizes and endorses Mr. Reber's Bible Institute program? And to what degree is the recognition and endorsement, if that is the case?

Corry: See above.

CP: Was Mr. Godwin operating as a Liberty University representative in his endorsement of Mr. Reber's partnership with Benny Hinn?

Corry: No. His communications were not authorized and were contrary to the terms of Liberty University's contracts with Mr. Reber and his company. Dr. Godwin says that he was advised that Mr. Reber had the contractual right to sell IBS courses and says that he asked Benny Hinn not to air the program until he returned to Virginia and confirmed that Liberty had granted Reber the rights to sell the courses.

CP: Does Liberty University plan to pursue any legal course of action?

Corry: Liberty University is putting the parties on notice of its rights and requesting actions inconsistent with its contract, trademark and intellectual property rights be stopped and rectified.

CP: Please provide any other relevant information you would like for readers to know in putting this issue in context.

Corry: Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn. Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical studies certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber in 2011. Mr. Reber, was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty's name because the Liberty name was deeply imbedded [sic] in LHBI course materials. Earlier, in 2009, Liberty engaged a company of Reber's, Internet Marketing and Communications, LLC, to market Liberty Home Bible Institute and the Institute of Biblical Studies, another non-accredited biblical studies certificate program. Liberty University has maintained ownership of both programs.

It is our understanding that Dan Reber or his company is working with Benny Hinn but Liberty University is not aware of the extent of the relationship or the terms. A review of the relevant contracts demonstrates that any such cooperative venture, branding initiative or partnership with Benny Hinn regarding these Liberty University properties violates the terms of its agreements with Mr. Reber and Internet marketing and Communications, LLC.

Liberty University has placed them on notice of this breach and is taking steps to stop the unauthorized use of its intellectual properties and trademarks. It is true that a senior administrator of Liberty University appeared on a Benny Hinn program where a certificate program was promoted, but no other liberty officials had prior notice of the planned broadcast. The administrator appeared after he was misinformed regarding the extent of Mr. Reber's contract rights. Again, Liberty University is not involved in any cooperative venture with Benny Hinn.

 

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